Cruel Treatment of Chimpanzees Halted

  • Client: Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Date: December 2006
  • Location: U.S. District Court for the Central District of California


In 2006, Schiff Hardin attorneys helped to achieve a groundbreaking victory that represented a major step towards the end of the use of nonhuman primates in entertainment.

The case involved Sable, Cody, and Angel - three chimpanzees at the center of a lawsuit filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) in 2005 against the chimpanzees' Hollywood "trainer," Sid Yost, alleging that Yost violated the Endangered Species Act and the California anti-cruelty statute by subjecting the three chimpanzees to violent beatings in order to force them to perform for movie and television appearances.

Sable, Cody, and Angel were sent to animal sanctuaries in New Mexico and Florida after a December 2006 settlement in the case. Each of the animals was reunited with long-lost members of their biological families.

A fourth chimpanzee, Apollo, who was also named in the suit filed in U.S. District Court in November 2005, allegedly received a fatal rattlesnake bite in July while in his cage at the defendant's San Bernardino facility. News media across the United States and around the world covered this story.

Animal Legal Defense Fund et al. v. Sidney Jay Yost